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Donald Trump says he wants to come to Ireland as he meets Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office

The US president said the Irish are ‘wonderful people’.

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has said that he may well visit Ireland soon, during a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office in the White House.

Speaking about Ireland, Trump said “I love it. I love it”.

The US president described Irish-Americans as ‘wonderful people’, and said the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was ‘interesting’.

“I look forward to being there. Great country,” the US president said.

Trump said that it was his ‘great honour to have the very popular prime minister of Ireland with us’ and that the two had been have ‘good talks about trade and about military and about cyber’.

He praised Irish-American relations, saying: “The relationship [between the two countries] is outstanding and only getting better.”

Trump said it was great to have the Taoiseach in the White House, pointing out that it was Varadkar’s first time in the Oval Office.

“I was telling President Trump, I was here before as a congressional intern back in 2000, but they didn’t let me into the Oval Office,” the Taoiseach said.

“But now we do,” President Trump responded. “You’ve made great progress”.

Trump and Varadkar met as part of the Taoiseach’s week-long trip to the United States to mark St Patrick’s Day.

US-IRELAND-DIPLOMACY-TRUMP-VARADKAR Source: AFP/Getty Images

The two spoke about the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York, with Trump noting that it goes “right by Trump Tower”.

When asked whether the two would play golf together, the Taoiseach said he doesn’t play but was “willing to learn”.

During the brief meeting, Trump answered questions about the newly-announced sanctions against some Russians and said it was a “very sad situation”.

Before the meeting, Varadkar met with Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s ambassador to the United States.

The Taoiseach is spending a week in the United States as part of his St Patrick’s trip across the Atlantic, the purpose of which is “to advance Ireland’s economic and political interests in the US, and to celebrate old and new cultural and community ties”.

Varadkar had said yesterday  that the invitation to President Trump to visit Ireland still stands.

US-IRELAND-DIPLOMACY-TRUMP-VARADKAR Source: AFP/Getty Images

Last St Patrick’s Day, his predecessor Enda Kenny extended the invitation to the newly-elected president.

Speaking after a meeting at the US Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Varadkar said he would like to show Trump the border with Northern Ireland.

“The invitation that Enda Kenny made to Donald Trump stands. Donald Trump has invited me to Washington DC and he is going to invite me to his house. I think it is absolutely appropriate, it’s normal hospitality, that when somebody invites you to their front room in their house that you reciprocate with an invitation,” he said.

After his meeting with President Trump in the White House, the Taoiseach will attend a lunch on Capitol Hill. He will return to the White House later this evening for the traditional shamrock ceremony.

With reporting by Christina Finn in the White House

Read: Leo says Trump is right about one thing – Europe needs to stop relying on the US for its defence

Read: Meeting Irish Texans, the Choctaw Nation and Donald Trump: Here’s Varadkar’s American itinerary

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